The Cooking Pantry

Cooking! Luckily, I love to cook and prepare food. I do it for my family about 3 times a day, 7 days a week. I occasionally take a break picking up fast food or pizza, but I still make the majority of “what we eat” decisions in my family.  My family members do have a say, they let me know when I’ve tried out a new recipe whether it’s a hit or not.

Speaking of new recipes, I love goggling based on ingredients I have on hand. My husband thinks I’m so not hip because I don’t type the URL address to locate sites I frequent. I’m addicted to goggle’s search which I primarily do on my smart phone. I believe online recipes are the cook’s best friend in the kitchen. If you want to make a cheese sauce, just goggle it!
Today, I’m going to discuss my cooking pantry and the staples I like to have on hand. I’m whimsical in my cooking. I don’t make a weekly menu, but I do have my “go to” recipes for my favorite meals. I usually decide that afternoon if I’m in the mood for homemade pizza, tacos, spaghetti, or chicken and dumplings for dinner. I keep my pantry well stocked with versatile grains, seasonings and sauces.
I’ve already made the transition from using prepared sauces and meal kits to making from scratch. In the past if you opened my pantry you’d see a variety of pasta sauce, canned broths, canned cream soups, taco dinner kits, pasta helper meals, rice mixes, instant potato packets, salad dressings, canned vegetables, canned beans, canned pastas, canned fish, and bouillon cubes. Most of these are prepackaged for a single meal’s use. There again, more waste and less versatility.
Here is what my cooking pantry looks like now with more versatile must haves:
Bay leaves
Beans (dried)
Cereal (checkerboard square)
Chili powder
Dill weed


Fish (canned tuna, salmon, etc)
Garlic (fresh bulbs and/or powder)
Grains (grits, millet, etc)
Hot pepper sauce
Kosher Salt
Mustard Seed
Olive Oil
Onions (fresh and/or powder)
Pasta (dried)
Peppercorns with grinder
Red Pepper
Soy Sauce
Tomatoes (canned whole)
Tomato paste
Tomato sauce
Vinegar (balsamic, red wine and white)
White pepper
Worcestershire sauce
Having all these ingredients on hand enables me to whip up a variety of ethnic recipes. Not only is having a stocked pantry with spices and seasonings space saving, it also creates less waste than a prepackaged meal kit.

In my next post I’ll share some of my favorite tweaked recipes, such as bar-b-q sauce, spaghetti sauce, taco seasoning, and ranch salad dressing. 

Feel free to share your favorite must haves of your cooking pantry!

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